Two aces faced off tonight in Jon Lester and David Price. However, it was everything but the anticipated rubber match. Much to the relief of the Red Sox offense, the 2012 Cy Young Award winner struggled mightily tonight.
The third inning was the exact jolt this Red Sox offense lusted. Stephen Drew led things off with a walk, followed by a Jacoby Ellsbury single to center. Then, the Sox offense just continued to chip away at Price by working the count, building his pitch count, and being selective at the plate. It all paid off as Pedroia, Ortiz, Napoli, and Gomes all drove in runs, giving the Sox a 4-0 lead. Price eventually left the game due to what seemed like an injury to his pitching arm, as he continued to flex his fingers. Price may be in a bit of trouble, given his horrid season and this injury.
The third inning continued and the Sox weren't done. They batted around the line-up with Drew coming to the plate again. And what does he do? Clears the bases with a grand slam of course. He's a Drew, what did you expect? 8-0 Sox, just like that. Remarkable inning.
Even Lester had a hiccup in the third inning...just not nearly as big as Price. He allowed two earned runs in the bottom of the inning. Lester's "slip" has to be chalked up to waiting for the Sox offense to stop pounding the Rays, right? The rest of the night, Lester was stronger as the game went on. On 107 pitches, he threw seven innings, allowing eight hits, two earned runs, no walks, and struck out five Rays.
Lester is still undefeated, earning his sixth win of the young season and is tied for second place for wins in the American League. Oh by the way, Clay Buchholz has six wins too. Pretty nice having two aces (so far) atop the rotation, right?
This game could very well launch the Sox out of their slumping ways. It also never hurts your team's confidence to pound a top ace for eight runs on the road.
Felix Doubront takes the mound for the Sox and will counter Rays starter Alex Cobb tomorrow. First pitch is at 7:10pm.